Volume 11, Issue 5: Sharpening Iron
Of course the big news that everyone is buzzing about is the new church name. We are no longer Community Evangelical Fellowship. Our new name is Christ Church. Not only did we change our name without a church split, but we’ve been having a lot of fun calling up all our friends and family and telling them that we don’t go to CEF anymore. Of course this is about as clever as telling all of your friends on New Year’s Eve that you’ll see them next year. But, once Daylight Savings is over, you get your thrills when and where you can.
Our other exciting news is the addition of one Duck Schuler to our staff. No, this is not a joke. Duck is a real man, with real hopes, dreams, feelings, etc. . . . Please welcome him to our pages with the appropriate volume of hate mail and death threats. Duck will be manning the column Musica, where he will regularly push for Goudimel, the Genevan Psalter, and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.
THE MYTH OF SOURED DOILIES
I had to laugh at the assumption about dourness among head-covering believers which you revealed in this sentence, “But of course those who ‘obey’ the passage with all appropriate reactionary glumness are missing the point equally. We are talking about declaring glory, and not about being dour” (vol 11, #3). It is of course, an all too common misconception that wearing a head-covering goes hand in hand with being baptized in vinegar and taking communion on dill pickles, but it isn’t true in this household, or in our circle of friends who share our belief that the covering is more than a woman’s hair. Silly man, how could we be dour, when so many of us read Credenda / Agenda?
Bill and Wendi Capehart
JOCK ROCK SONNETS —$19.95
You know those CD collections that you can purchase on late night TV (like “Love Songs of the ‘80s and ‘90s”) for $19.95? Can we persuade Doug Wilson into putting together a “Rock Songs with Good Poetry” CD collection? I’d be the first customer!
THEY LOVE HIM
Just received the recent edition of Credenda (vol. 11, #4), and had to get online to write you all a note. If you all never print another article, you will have achieved your ultimate purpose by printing Jack Van Deventer’s “Prophecy Quiz” of the Eschaton: Final Things section. This was absolutely the best thing I have read in any “religious” magazine that has been published. . . .
THEY LOVE HIM NOT
I enjoy Credenda Agenda and many of the thought-provoking articles in each issue. In addition, I find the Sharpening Iron portion to be especially helpful perhaps for both editors and readership. The Prophecy Quiz should maybe also include the preposition “by” i.e., “By Jack Van Deventer,” lest some believers just beginning the pilgrimage should think that every question/answer is ipso facto in keeping with “sound biblical doctrine”.
Sam Pickren Jr.
HIGH CHURCH PRAISE
Thank you, thank you, thank you. As a minister in a traditional Anglican parish, I was happy to see your article on the normative aspect of weekly “Word and Sacrament.” We celebrate Holy Communion every Lord’s Day and at other times during the week as the occasion arises. Both sermon and Eucharist take center stage in our services, never having one without the other nor emphasizing one over the other. This is quite unlike the Presby church that I once attended where the Communion service was “tagged on” to the end of a service once a month, as if it were merely an afterthought. Sadly, this seems to be normative among many of my brethren in other traditions. Perhaps as many in the modern church recapture (or at least rediscover) their continuity to the ancient church, these sacramental lapses will be eliminated. Now if I can only get my own tradition to embrace presuppositional Christian philosophy.
Michael L. Ward
Vero Beach, Florida
If Mr. Hagen is going to impress us with his knowledge of things Hebrew, he should make sure he gets his facts straight (Stauron vol. 11, #4). All of the so-called historical books are not in the Writings portion of the Hebrew Bible. Rather, Joshua through Kings (except Ruth) are part of the Prophets division. Consequently, they are often designated the Former Prophets.... Also, the “major” prophet Daniel is part of the Writings rather than the Prophets. (I’m sure I’ll be accused of being nitpicky for submitting this correction, but it is always good to remind people that your excellent publication is, after all, fallible. Esp. all that stuff on postmillenialism.)
I greatly appreciate your efforts to educate and enlighten the body of Christ while incorporating a very warped sense of humor to keep things light and enjoyable. However, having spoken with several brothers regarding “Ethics of Boat Race Night” by Nathan Wilson, I was fascinated to find out that all of the men had the same question: “What is the point?!!” I fail to see anything edifying (Eph. 4:29) in the article that I would encourage my son to follow. The article demonstrated so many examples of poor judgment and direct contradiction to the clear precepts of God’s word that my head is spinning! . . .
John A. Lee
When we receive Credenda / Agenda, we are thrilled! However, when we saw Plum on the cover of the last issue, we were elated!! . . .Therefore, I throughly enjoyed Nathan Wilson’s articles, Ethics of Boat Race Night and Buzz Flits By. Nathan, keep up the good work ! Tally Ho!
REAL MEN AREN’T BOSSY
So, let me see if I have this right. Real Men tell their women how to dress and wear their hair. They are verbally abusive and arrogant and love to publicly humiliate others. They are full of themselves; like football players high-fiving and chicken-dancing in the end zone. Now, really, can you imagine any Godly man behaving this way? Is this all there is to masculinity; getting your way with women and restauranteurs? . . . Mind you, I’m not against men being men. Strength and confidence are sorely needed by the limp-wristed nancy-boys of our day. But how should we cultivate and employ masculine strength?
KNOCK IT OFF
Enough already of this juvenile discussion [in recent letters] of manhood in relation to whether we smoke or drink or not. This reminds me ever so much of nauseating locker room talk where young men pound their own chests proclaiming their own supposed masculinity. If we were real Christian men, full of faith and godly courage, we would reject the widespread idolatry of our society and confront it head on, refusing to bow to the baals. Sadly, we are not and do not. We lack even the small faith of Gideon, threshing his wheat in hiding. We prefer rather to comfortably genuflect and thereby bring the covenantal curses upon both ourselves and our posterity. Repentance is sorely needed.
One thing has always troubled me a bit in reading Wodehouse. Call me wimpy, spineless, whatever (I suppose even panty-waist would be appropriate, although not, perhaps, gentlemanlike), but I wish that P.G.’s characters were not such hardened prevaricators. It seems that Jeeves’ answer to every problem is to tell a lie to someone. Honesty does not seem to be a virtue for many of Wodehouse’s heroes. But still I keep reading him in spite of my better feelings. Who could resist a character like Mordred Mulliner, the indefatigable fire-setter who regularly guts his own flat, and who wants to get away for a few days not only to see the woman he loves but because “all those charred sofas and things struck a rather melancholy note”?
In regard to Mr. Wilson’s thoughtful reflections on rock music (Vol. 11, #4), I believe a distinction needs to be made between the terms “lyrics” and “poetry.” Rock music characteristically doesn’t claim to function as poetry, so it should not be evaluated in that context. To criticize rock lyrics for not being good poetry is akin to criticizing Aaron Copland for not being a good jazz musician. One of the main differences is that poetry is written to be spoken or read, while lyrics are written primarily to be sung (or screamed, in the case of some rock music).
Some rock lyrics, however, are closer to poetry than others. But just as one won’t find the best theology books at his local family bookstore, so will he not hear the best rock music by listening to his local commercial radio station. . . .
An All-Purpose Editor’s Response:
Part of the reason we need more humor in the Reformed world is that too often folks think we are advocating what we are making fun of. We clearly need practice, practice, practice. The issues surrounding tobacco and alcohol have little to do with those things in themselves, but rather provide us with a good way of identifying the authority of the Bible in our lives. And of course, rock songs with three chords and five words can sometimes have a limited place in our lives. Just like Kraft macaroni and cheese, something very basic can be all right sometimes. But we can’t really call it good cooking unless we put a chopped up hot dog in it.